Posted by duncanshiell on February 13th, 2009
On my last blog, Inquisitor 106, Pared Down by Kea, I commented that I was lucky to have to blog only twenty-one clues. I shouldn’t have celebrated so much as I have lurched to the other extreme with this offering by Schadenfreude which boasts a grand total of fifty-three clues.
The preamble was short. Solvers were told that they must complete the grid, which consisted only of real words, and commemorated a tragic loss. They were further told that the numbers in brackets at the end of the clues referred to the length of the grid entries, i.e. not necessarily the lengths of the clue answers. No further information was supplied about how the tragedy was represented in the grid.
3rd February 1959 was the day the music died. It was in the early hours of 3rd February, 50 years ago, that a light aircraft carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J. P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson and pilot Roger Peterson crashed soon after take off from Clear Lake, Iowa.
Given the dearth of detailed information about the treatment of some of the answers, (perfectly reasonably) I found it necessary to cold solve a fair number of clues before I could start fitting things together. I was fairly clear early on that there was something happening in the first row such that a number of unclued letters would have to be inserted. It dawned on me some time in to the puzzle that some clues required more than one additional letter to be added before entry. It also gradually became apparent that two thematic five letter words were developing vertically downwards from 21 and 23. A bit of analysis, together with the important fact that all entries were real words,led me to realise that the two thematic words would be BUDDY and HOLLY.
The bottom half of the puzzle gave me some difficulty as I was thinking that the bottom row would also contain thematic material to give symmetry with the top row. However once I got BUDDY HOLLY, the top row dropped out as RITCHIE VALENS, and it was clear that J P Richardson or The Big Bopper was going to appear somewhere. The third row from the bottom was the obvious contender for THE BIG BOPPER, starting in column 1, and the whole puzzle dropped out fairly quickly after that. I guess you can’t force symmetry into a puzzle where two of the key thematic phrases have different lengths.
Because there were fifty-three clues and twenty-five of these turned out be shorter than the associated grid entries, the average length of clue answers was very low at under 5 letters per clue.
I usually find Schadenfreude’s puzzles a challenge and this was no exception. It certainly took me longer to solve this one than the time I usually take for Inquisitors. As ever, I learned some new words (e.g. RIVERET, ENTETE, and TSUGA) and discovered people I had only vaguely heard of before. I knew about Buddy Holly, and had heard of Ritchie Valens, although I thought his Christian name was spelled RICHIE. The Big Bopper was new to me, as was Ernest BLOCH and ENOS.
I found the clueing fair and often entertaining with good surface readings.
|No.||Answer||Entry||Components of Wordplay for Answer|
|2||CH||ITCH||C (caught) + H (heroin) = CH (South West [which includes Cornwall] for ich [I, the first person])|
|8||AE||VALE||Double definition – AE (Scots word for one) and AE (abbreviation for ‘of her age’)|
|14||ECHOER||EER (ever, always) containing (taking on) (CH [children] + O [on]) = ECHOER (one who imitates, an impersonator)|
|15||RIVERET||RE (Royal Engineers) contained in (going in) RIVET (fix) = RIVERET (small river, watercourse)|
|16||GEAR||Definition GEAR (unusually good [slang]) and homophone (when speaking) GEAR (cf Richard Gere, American actor)|
|17||IAGO||I (one) + A (about) + GO (die) = IAGO (villian in Shakespeare’s Othello)|
|18||RELOADS||Anagram of (crooked) SEA LORD = RELOADS (charges again, as in reloads a gun)|
|19||ENTETE||EN (Enrolled Nurse) + TETE (French for ‘head’) = ENTETE (opiniated)|
|21||ETA||BETA||Two definitions and a wordplay: ETA (menial worker in Japan); reverse of (about) ATE (worried); and ETA (Greek letter)|
|23||ELLS||HELLS||WELL (very possibly) without W (wide) + S (section) = ELLS (railroads)|
|24||STRASS||STRAUSS||STR (strong) + AS (like) + S (sulphur) = STRASS (paste for making false gems)|
|25||TRIES||TORIES||R (runs) contained in (within) TIES (limits) = TRIES (tests)|
|26||SATE||SATED||S (us) + ATE (consumed) = SATE (a meat dish, satay)|
|29||ENOS||LENOS||ENS (being) containing (without) O (love) = ENOS (grandson of Eve through the line of Seth)|
|33||BLEES||BLEEDS||L (luminance) contained in (in) BEES (Queens are bees) = BLEES (archaic [old fashioned] word for ‘colours’)|
|36||GALANT||GALLANT||GAL (young female) + ANT (soldier) = GALANT (given in Chambers as an adjective meaning ‘musical style characterised by elegance and technical accomplishment. Collins, however,gives it as a noun)’|
|39||LARD||LARDY||LORD (peer) with O (nothing) replaced by A (athletic) = LARD (fat)|
|40||OAR||OARY||A (are) contained in (inside) OR (other ranks, men) = OAR (oarsman, a member of a rowing eight)|
|41||OSSIES||MOSSIES (mosquitoes, source of malaria) without (away) M (miles) = OSSIES (Australians, inhabitants of Newcastle, the second most populous area in New South Wales after Sydney)|
|42||INSIDER||IN SIDE (belonging to team) + R (right) = INSIDER (member of an organisation with access to priveleged information)|
|44||BO||IGBO||Double definition – BO (man); BO (boo, which if said, will give you a fright)|
|45||PEE||PERE||PE (Physical Eductaion, exercises) + E (close [last letter] of ‘me’) = PEE (Jimmy [Riddle], act of urinating)|
|46||CELLOSE||EL (second and fourth letters [regularly] of ‘jelly’) contained in (found in) CLOSE (dense) = CELLOSE (sugar compound)|
|47||LISBET||(IS+ BE [to live]) contained in (in) LT (Lithuania) = LISBET (girl’s name)|
|48||YENS||N (bit of [first letter] ‘nasal’) contained in (blocking) YES (certainly) = YENS (intense desires, itches)|
|49||TEST||TET (Vietnamese Festival) containing (includes) S (second) = TEST (test match, game of cricket)|
|No.||Answer||Entry||Components of Wordplay for Answer|
|1||EGRESS||REGRESS||EG (say, for example) + RE (on) + SS (steamship, vessel) = EGRESS (exit)|
|3||HALER||THALER||HALE (robust,strong) + R (run) = HALER (monetary unit of the Czech Republic and Slovakia). Note that THALER is also a foreign currency of sorts, being an obsolete German coin.|
|4||CORONAE||COR (cornet) + ON (in addition to) +AE (aged) = CORONAE (trumpets, e.g.of daffodils|
|5||HERA||HER (female) + A = HERA (goddess)|
|6||RIDES||IRIDES||R (take) + IDES (fish) = RIDES (badgers, as in riles or annoys)|
|7||RAS||ERAS||R (river) + AS (kame or esker, bank) = RAS (promontory)|
|9||AVO||A + V (very) + O (ordinary) = AVO (monetary unit of Macau)|
|10||ESTER||LESTER||Anagram of (redistributed) five of the eight letters of (five/eighths) of INTEREST = ESTER (chemical compound)|
|11||ERMELIN||ERIN (Ireland) containing (eating) MEL (honey) = ERMELIN (ermine, a small carnivore)|
|12||ETTLE||NETTLE||FETTLE (potter fussily about) without F (fathoms) = ETTLE (Scots [Jock's] word for ‘intent’)|
|13||STRESS||S (special) + TRESS (lock) = STRESS (emphasise, very)|
|19||EATH||EAT (worry) + H (Henry) = EATH (Edmund Spenser’s word for easy, not difficult)|
|20||ITA||IT (both ‘it’ and ‘the other’ can mean sexual relations) + A (area) = ITA (the miriti palm)|
|22||TSUGA||Reverse of (A + GUST [burst of fire]) = TSUGA (tree, the hemlock spruce genus)|
|27||TERSELY||Anagram of (ground) RESTYLE = TERSELY (in a compact fashion)|
|28||DSOS||D (had) + SO (in this way) + S (succeeded) = DSOS (cattle found in parts of the Himalayas, said to be a cross between male yak and common horned cow, and a favourite animal of crossword compilers)|
|30||ELLIPSE||ECLIPSE (darkness) with C (college) replaced by L (left) = ELLIPSE (figure)|
|31||ONE||ON (at the expense of) + E (Spain) = ONE (joke)|
|32||STARETS||STARTS (begins to) containing (embraces) E (eccentricity) = STARETS (spiritual advisors)|
|33||BLOCH||BLOTCH||B (black) + LOCH (lake) = BLOCH (Ernest Bloch, Swiss born, American composer 1880-1959)|
|34||LASER||LASHER||Anagram of (organised) SALE + R (rector) = LASER (the plant, silphium)|
|35||EDILE||EDIBLE||Reverse of (retired) ELIDE (rebut, archaic [old fashioned]) = EDILE (magistrate in ancient Rome)|
|37||ARNOLD||R (resistance) contained in (overcome) AN OLD (an early) = ARNOLD (Matthew Arnold, English poet 1822-1888)|
|38||ARDEBS||ARE containing (restricting) +D (Dutch) + BS (Building Society) = ARDEBS (Egyptian dry measures)|
|42||IBEX||IE (that is) + X (unknown), all containing (outside) B (Britain) = IBEX (wild mountain goat, a ruminant)|
|43||SIT||SPIT||Reverse of (turning up) IS + T (time) = SIT (model)|
|44||ON||ION||Reverse of (about) NO (Japanese drama, play) = ON (getting drunk)|